Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Run For Your Art!




No Walls Art Studio, Lobo Peak, NM

I love exercising outdoors and I love to paint, so I combined the two a few days ago when I ran-hiked the Manzanita Trail to Lobo Peak where I set up the easel at 12,115'. Packing and carrying 40 pounds of equipment was just half the challenge; choosing a subject to paint with 360 degree views was the other. Was it convenient? No, Beautiful? Yes. Life enhancing? Definitely.

Every time I complete a challenging hike or run I feel more confident which, carries over to other areas of my life. Somehow, that blank piece of paper or canvas becomes less intimating; a difficult ski run seems more manageable. Trail running, especially down hill requires focus; one wrong step could cause serious problems. Along with focusing on the ground under foot and scanning the forest for bears, the brain is making constant decisions and calculations on where to go and how to get there. Which rock or tree branch to avoid? How fast could I go without tumbling down that ravineCould I jump over that fallen tree without losing my manhood? For me, trail running and hiking is a meditation. It requires concentration while moving through each moment with complete awareness. 

This particular trail has steep inclines with grades up to 45% in some sections. (Think 90% and then back off from there.) From the parking area to the summit of Lobo Peak, the trail climbs 3,759'. The information I read listed the trail as 4.19 miles in length so, when I looked at my GPS watch and it read "5.01 miles" and the summit ridge was nowhere to be seen, I realized that either the watch was wrong or the listed trail length did not account for the distance from trail's end to the peak of the Peak. The total uphill mileage according to my watch was 5.35 miles. The reason I was concerned about the mileage was because there was only a certain amount of time to paint before the afternoon's lightening strikes began. A lot of panting and swearing took place before the summit came into view. I spent a couple of hours there painting, mediating, snapping pictures and talking to the chipmunks, bees and Big Horn Sheep. 

The trail down is just as hard as the way up, taxing different muscles and energy stores. The lungs hunger for more oxygen on the way up and the legs on the way down. Combine gravity, weight, mass, speed and force on the lower body and you end up with screaming thighs, buttocks, knees and ankles. I did make it a bit more difficult than necessary, as I found and carried down the perfect 12' tree branch that I'll be perching a handmade bird feeder.

I did manage to take time out to smell the flowers and marvel at the abundance of life that percolates in our National Forest. Northern New Mexico is home to hundreds of spices of plants and wildflowers and with no one on the trail that day I played botanist in training, studying and taking pictures of the abundant summertime bloom. (Truth be told, I didn't get much painting done, as there just too much of the "Wow!" effect to be seen everywhere I looked.) 

So, although I'd prefer to paint outdoors I'll have to finish this one inside looking at a digitized copy of the breathtaking views via a photograph. Eventually, I'd need to come inside for fresh water, more materials, food and rest and recuperation. There's always tomorrow. There will always be more trails to explore and endless running towards creating more Art. 

Hope you enjoy the below pictures of the trail and Peak.


Lush Forest
Wild Red Berries

Standing Tall

Steep Climb
One of Many Beautiful Crossings
Handsome Big Horn Sheep
Geranium Richardsonii

Hairy Clematis
Approx. 2 miles from Peak

Ridge Approach to Peak
Finally!
Old Cairn?
Taos Valley View

NW View
Lobo Peak, NM Looking SE












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